U.S. defense chief orders Patriot missiles to Turkey

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:28am EST

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INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey Dec 14 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed an order on Friday to send two Patriot missile batteries to Turkey along with 400 American personnel to operate them, his spokesman said.

"The purpose of this deployment is to signal very strongly that the United States, working closely with our NATO allies, is going to support the defense of Turkey, especially with potential threats emanating from Syria," spokesman George Little told reporters before Panetta landed on an unannounced visit to Turkey.

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